Without further ado, we just tasted the latest Single Cask releases of the new Indie-bottler Hepburn’s Choice (Laing Brothers). For older bottlings and information, click here and here.
Mortlach 9 y.o. Hepburn’s Choice 2004, Refill Hogshead, 46%
Comment: This pale and malty dram tastes exactly like a raw peppered steak with spinach on the side. We also got apricot and peach, morello cherry and sandalwood aromas. Steely Dram (sorry, Steely Dan!)
Longmorn 11 y.o. Hepburn’s Choice 2003 – 2014, Bourbon Barrel, 46%
Comment: Their best release so far! What a fruitbasket with incredible maturity after these years (it already displays dextrosity). Coconut, vanilla, pineapple, passion fruit, gooseberries, pear, lemons, elderflower combined with white chocolate, tinned milk, honeysuckle and toffee. Creamy and voluptuous mouthfeel, a sour-fruity and baroque Longmorn, Speyside goes Caribbean.
Glengoyne 7 y.o. Hepburn’s Choice 2007 – 2014, Refill Sherry, 46%
Comment: This dram is somewhat tragic because it has great potential but was bottled way too early (baby murder, so to speak) as it is very green, mashy and close to a new make. Nevertheless there is complexity and some weight already: apple compote, sour apple mash (like in a cider factory), autumnal flowers, kiwi, Haribo peach gums, honey, pistachio and candy floss – this would have been amazing some years in the future. Now it is interesting but not there yet.
Miltonduff 7 y.o. Hepburn’s Choice 2007 – 2014, Refill Butt, 46%
Comment: This one stands like a champion for its young age, especially on the palate. A wonderful sherry influence on a medium dry and flowery base. Don’t rush this Miltonduff! One can detect dried flowers, hay, blood oranges, bergamotte, lit sandwood sticks, tinned coffee cream, some oak and good acidity. The finish leaves you craving for more.
Auchroisk 12 y.o. Hepburn’s Choice 2001, Refill Hogshead, 46%
Comment: A very unsusual whisky, in parts it reminds me of mezcal (agave, white pepper) and steely gins (juniper). Quite dry and austere, lots of hay, celeriac, wet earth, chili, leather and peaches. Malt for Mexicans. Bring out the Mariachi.
Caol Ila 5 y.o. Hepburn’s Choice 2008 – 2014, Refill Hogshead, 414 btl., 46%
Comment: A typical and fresh Caol Ila that surprises me (only five years old) – peat, twig smoke, olive oil, juniper, lemon, chalk, mint, nettles, pepper and spice in the nose. Only the taste reveals its youth with greener elements ans some mash. Nice finish.
Laphroaig 11 y.o. Hepburn’s Choice 2002 – 2014, Refill Hogshead, 151 btl., 46%
Comment: It is one of these green-banana-like Laphs (like original bottlings these days, which often perform less good than indie bottlings), limestone, green tea, peat smoke and old port aromas. Some might love this more than I do. A solid Islay dram though.
There also is a Talisker 6 y.o. from 2008 in the new range – it is not a green as one would think, already a typical maritime beach-BBQ dram, way better than Storm (86 points).